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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bridging the Gap

Bridge. A structure that allows us to cross over an obstacle to reach the other side. There are other definitions of a bridge...such as the bridge of your nose, an upper deck of a ship, a type of card game and so forth. You might even say that the custom of shaking hands is a universal symbol of bridge building. But mostly we think of a bridge as some sort of a convenient link between one side and the other side. The first bridges were probably as simple as a fallen log across a stream or large stones placed across a narrow waterway. The Romans were among the greatest bridge builders in the world. They designed arched bridges and aqueducts...some of which are still standing today.

Many of us have to cross a bridge at least once a day. When I was a child, I used to be scared to death of riding over bridges. I would duck down in the seat of the car and not peer out until my dad said we were safely on the other side. Some bridges actually accommodate anxious drivers who are afraid to drive across by themselves...with "designated drivers". At the bridge entrance, a "professional bridge driver" will take over the wheel and carefully chauffer the vehicle across the bridge while the fearful driver sits nervously in the passenger seat. The 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge in Michigan offers this assistance.

I'm thinking about bridges because my husband and I recently drove over the spectacular Sunshine Skyway Bridge that spans the emerald green waters of Tampa Bay near St. Pete, Florida. I have to admit, it's a very high, long and scary bridge. But as bridges's a supremely beautiful architectural wonder. This time I didn't hunker down and hide. Instead I snapped photos.

A massive barge emerges from under the Skyway Bridge in the morning fog.

Sunset highlights the twin "sails" of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

The twin towers of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge glisten like gold at sunset.

The top of the bridge offers drivers an amazing view.
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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

It all started over a sled.

The other day I was shopping for a sled. I haven't bought a sled in a long time. Well, actually a long, long, long time. As I looked over the various sled selections on the huge open shelves, I realized that there's been a significant change in the sled design world. I couldn't find a single wooden flexible flyer with steel runner blades anywhere. Like I said, it's been a while since I bought a sled.

But oh there was a wondrous variety of sledding equipment...nearly all of them constructed of every color of the rainbow including an assortment of wild psychedelic colors. There were saucer sleds that resembled garbage can lids. All sorts and sizes of rubber inflatable sleds. There were snow tubes, snow toboggans, snow boogies, snow boards, mini luges, disc sleds, slope sliders, racing sleds and baby pull sleds.

As I was in the midst of a mesmerizing sled-slider-saucer purchasing decision, a fellow who looked to be about my age ambled down the aisle and was looking at snow shovels which were across from the sleds. He noticed me and said: Hope you're not thinkin' 'bout buying one of those sled things. We're too old for such nonsense.

GRRRRR. How about a shovel up your butt, you farty old coot? I wanted to say but managed to restrain myself. Instead I smiled sweetly and replied, Oh, we're never too old to go sledding. Matter of fact, sir, your fatass rear end looks more like a super-sized saucer sled than any of these on the shelves. Ever thought of hiring your behind out as a toboggan? He gave me a dirty look and slunk away. I chose a large, plastic purple abominal snowman luge...for my 4 year old grandson (visiting from Florida)...which was my reason for shopping in the first place. As I approached the check out, I thought about what the jerk guy had said. So I marched back to the sports section and picked out two more sleds: heavy-duty red and yellow psychedelic, fluorescent, irridescent flying snow screamers for myself and my husband. Too old for sledding?  Never.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

What Would You Do If You Weren't Afraid?

It's time to open a brand new book. Its pages are blank. I am the author. I can  write anything I want or leave the pages empty. The book is called opportunity. Its first chapter is New Year's Day.
Thus begins another 12 months of the year two thousand and eleven. 365 more chances to get it right this time. Fresh beginnings, renewed positivity, a conscious code of kindness, bold decisions and fearless actions. We've put away all the Christmas decorations, dusted, vacuumed and straightened up the house. It looks uncluttered, clean and shiny. We purged the closets and took boxes of no longer used items over to Goodwill. The line for dropping donations off at Goodwill was 12 cars deep. Apparently a lot of folks have the same idea this time of year. Out with the old. In with the in renewed hopes, ambitions and dreams. 
My husband and I are at a point in life where we are seeking to do something different. We asked ourselves: What would we do if we weren't afraid? If we weren't afraid to fail; afraid to lose money; afraid to get hurt; afraid to be laughed at; afraid to be different; afraid to live like there was no tomorrow? It is fear...more than lack of money, more than lack of power, more than lack of intelligence...that holds us back. Call it insecurity, lack of confidence, false modesty, a sense of inadequacy...that often stops us cold and prevents us from following our dreams. Fear is the great self-induced emotional paralysis. When we are able to analyze our fears and then disengage from our anxiety, we can become liberated and fearless.  It takes courage to believe in yourself. But once we discover our inner strength, it's astounding how quickly we can achieve the confidence to follow our dreams. We become free.
It's not necessarily an easy thing to spread our wings and fly. Often we have to take baby steps rather than jumping off a cliff in hopes we'll immediately soar through the air. But we all have choices to make. Sometimes it's merely an attitude adjustment of shoving our negativity and fears aside and giving ourselves permission to pursue new adventures and more fulfilling lives.    
                      HAPPY NEW YEAR OF ADVENTURES TO ONE AND ALL!              

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